2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 Designo

The first generation Mercedes-Benz SLK was all about fun. When the SLK was launched, Mercedes said it was ”driving in a new dimension.” I kind of get what they were after but I’ll just chalk it up to some marketing-speak. While the R129 was the serious roadster with a serious price tag, the R170 was the light-hearted option that checked in at $40,000 as opposed to the $80,000 and up if you went with SL500. There was a finally an option for people who didn’t want to spend starter home money for a Mercedes convertible. The best part about it was that the normally ultra-conservative styling you were used to seeing was moved towards something that still could be recognized as a Mercedes, but a breath of fresh air and a look into the new millennium. You want a crazy color? Sure. Matching seats? You got it. And how about something those stuffy R129 buyers don’t have, an automatic, retractable hardtop? Yep, that will make Morty and Barb from the club jealous. How about one more thing, a supercharger. Now we are going crazy!

All this was really great in the late 1990s. Times were good, money was flowing and there was no reason to believe that you when you bought a SLK, you weren’t getting that same standard of quality that you were used to from every Mercedes convertible of past. All the way from the 300SL and 190SL to the R129 and C124 and everything in between, those were really special cars. There is a reason why the W111/112 Cabriolet is still a six-figure car and Pagodas even in the roughest of condition are starting at $50,000. The thing with the SLK was that all of a sudden the generous amount of leather and wood you were accustomed to in your top-down Mercedes was suddenly replaced with vinyl and plastic.…

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Has it really been a month since our last “What We’re Watching”?!? Today I’ve lined up another group of rare and rarely seen models that all have their fans. Once again, they’re all no reserve, offering us a great glimpse at where the market is heading on some models and where deals can still be found:

Click for Details: 1984 Volkswagen Transporter Syncro Panel Van

This one ticks all the right rarity boxes in the T2 market; it’s a Syncro and very unique in that it’s a panel van, though admittedly that probably limits the appeal to those who carry passengers. The “Expedition Build” makes up for it, though, and this adventure van looks prime for traveling anywhere. Bidding is heating up on the no reserve auction, but this one is still a lot cheaper than you’d expect normally for a built Syncro at only $15,000 with a few days to go.

Click for Details: 1989 Volkswagen Fox Wagon

It takes a strong VW lover to appreciate the Fox, but the diminutive 2-door wagon has arguably the greatest appeal of the run. Built in Brazil, these models shared a lot in common with Audis of the same period with a longitudinal layout. Unlike what the seller indicates, that makes a VR6 swap not impossible, but not hugely easy. It sounds like the running condition could probably be sorted reasonably easily if the car at least starts, and the chassis is reasonably clean appearing with lower miles. Right now, a single $1,500 bid buys it, but that’s probably still strong considering it’s only a roller.

Click for Details: 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK32 AMG

We definitely don’t give much press to the R170, but we probably should since the nutters at AMG got their hands on them and crafted a great option. The SLK32 might not have had the big V8 like the later 55s did, but you still got 349 horsepower from the 3.2 liter V6 for top-down 0-60 in 5 seconds.…

Convertible Week: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 5-speed manual

It was around my second year in college that the chance arose for me to finally get behind the wheel of the (then) newly introduced Mercedes SLK230. My first impression is that for such a small car, it drove just like a regular Mercedes. Except it was smaller. Up until around 15 years ago, I maintained that you could blindfold me and I could tell you if I was riding in a Mercedes or not. The SLK was no different. Steering with a bit of heft to it, a firm but compliant ride and a smooth automatic gearbox were the order of the day. Some complained about the agricultural nature of the supercharged inline-4, but it offered plenty of power to scoot you around in a hurry.

Mercedes upped the enthusiast ante shortly after the SLK debuted and offered a 5-speed manual gearbox. Not since the 190E had US customers been able to spec a Mercedes with three pedals. To this day, you can still order a new SLK250 with a 6-speed manual, but who knows how long that will last. I tend to think someone at Mercedes-Benz USA forgot this was on the menu. If you don’t want to plunk down the coin for a new SLK, this SLK230 for sale in Pennsylvania gives you the chance to enjoy a lot of fresh air and the freedom to row your own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor

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At age 10 I was really into collecting die-cast models from Maisto and I vividly remember picking up a 1/18 scale version of the car you see above. As a 10 year old a model of a bright yellow roadster with a functional folding top seems pretty damn cool but only a few short years later after seeing a real one I found myself thinking “that car is so lame.” Of course it was completely due to the circumstances in which I saw the car (tacky retirees at the wheel) and the fact that my automotive tastes had begun to shift towards overwrought Japanese vehicles. If only I had realized in my youth what I have realized now, the R170 SLK is a pretty nifty little car and holds an important place in Mercedes Benz history.

With it’s folding steel convertible top the first gen SLK was quite the head turner in it’s debut year. Mercedes sold 55,000 of the retro-futuristic roadsters worldwide and it snagged the title of North American Car of the Year from Car & Driver in 1998. Weighing a respectable 3,036 lbs. and featuring a 185hp supercharged inline-4 engine, the SLK 230 Kompressor moved from naught to 60 in 7.2 seconds which for the olden days of the late ’90s was pretty good. It marked Mercedes’ return to making a light little roadster with a four cylinder engine, something they hadn’t done since the glory days of the 190SL. I think it’s safe to say that had the SLK not been successful, Mercedes may not have figured out that it’s ok to put smaller motors in their cars when it suits the chassis.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

10K Friday: What’s the name of your hairdresser? TT v. Z3 v. Boxster v. SLK

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Arguably, I haven’t been very kind to the cars I’ve dubbed “The Three Hairdressers”. Perhaps I haven’t been fair; each has its merits, each has its own neat designs, and each has its quirks. What ties all three together, though, is bang for the buck; today, on Ebay, you can get your choice of great condition TT, SLK or Z3 for around $10,000. Each is a well engineered car with similar purposes but different execution. To make matters a little more complicated on this week’s 10K Friday, I’ve thrown a “real” sports car into the mix in the guise of a 1997 Boxster. Which is the one for you? Let’s start by looking at the Audi:

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Year: 2001
Model: TT 225 Convertible
Engine: 1.8 turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 73,132 mi
Price: $ 9,995 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 Convertible on eBay

90 Day Warranty! Clean CarFax Report w/Dealer Maintenance History, 1.8L 4 Cyl Turbo, 225 Horsepower, Quattro (AWD), 6-Speed Manual, Leather Interior, Black Canvas Softop, Power Windows, Locks, Mirrors, Heated Seats, Cassette Player, 17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Keyless Entry, Owners Manual, Current NJ Inspection 9/2014.

Great color, great wheels, and in my mind the one that has very clearly aged the best out of the four. The TT also is the best year-rounder with Haldex all-wheel drive. It may be considered the least “sporty” of the group, but the TT is a great little car that can easily be turned up a few notches if you’d like. This one sure looks to be in great shape. Turbo Quattros not your cup of tea? How about a supercharged Merc?

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I remember when these cars were launched, and I was pretty excited that after a fairly uninspired run there was suddenly a small supercharged SL with a folding hardtop.…

2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK230

The first Mercedes-Benz SLK I drove was a 1999 SLK230 with the AMG package, similar to the roadster we see here for sale outside of Philadelphia. The car really surprised me, but it didn’t have anything to do with the speed or handling dynamics. I was baffled how Mercedes could build a sporty looking two seat convertible that felt and handled almost exactly like the 1998 C230 sedan I owned at the time. I shrugged it off at the time and reminded myself that I wasn’t in a BMW and instead focused on the positive, such as the car’s relatively rattle free ride, decent low end torque from the supercharged 2.3 liter four cylinder engine and electrically folding steel roof. Fifteen years has passed since these small cruisers first went on sale in the US, meaning they have turned into quite the bargain for people who want a bit of style at a discounted rate.

2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

SUPER CLEAN 2001 SLK230. Clean Carfax, low mileage. This vehicle has been very well maintained. Completely detailed inside and out. Vehicle runs and handles great. Comes equipped with: 17″ alloy wheels, fully automatic power hard top, auto-dimming rear view mirror, home-link universal garage door opener remote keyless entry, and more.

The asking price of $15,995 is a bit much, even considering the mileage is on the low side and the car has the AMG package. Realistically, this is a $12,000 to $13,000 car all day long. Also, a manual transmission Mercedes appeals to fewer people in the US than Europe, even if it’s a sportier model. One more big obstacle for this SLK is that you could easily procure a late model R129 SL500 for similar money. I think we all know which drop top Benz most of us would rather have.…

2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK32 AMG

Every time I see the recent Mercedes-Benz commercial with Santa riding off in the red SL63, it gets me in the mood for a red Mercedes roadster. And here we have a tasty, red, first generation AMG SLK right in time for the holidays. This example has just under 35,000 miles on the clock. The SLK32 packed the 3.2 liter supercharged V6 which was shared with the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 coupe and roadster.

Not much of a description is given by the seller, but from the pictures and the mileage, it looks as if it was well cared for. Provided there are no issues and a clean service record, this could be a good, lightly used bargain for under $20,000.

-Paul…